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Phyllis Gates

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Subject: Rock Hudson, Beard (companion), Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (play), Lavender marriage, Dawson, Minnesota
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Phyllis Gates

Phyllis Gates
Born Phyllis Lucille Gates
(1925-12-07)December 7, 1925
Dawson, Minnesota
Died January 4, 2006(2006-01-04) (aged 80)
Marina del Rey, California
Cause of death lung cancer
Nationality American
Occupation Secretary
Spouse(s) Rock Hudson
(m. 1955–1958) (divorced)

Phyllis Lucille Gates (December 7, 1925 – January 4, 2006) was an American secretary and interior decorator known for her three-year marriage to the actor Rock Hudson. The story of their marriage was depicted in the 1990 TV film Rock Hudson, starring Daphne Ashbrook (as Gates) and Thomas Ian Griffith (as Hudson).[1]


  • Early life 1
  • Marriage to Rock Hudson 2
  • Later life 3
  • Lesbian allegations 4
  • Published works 5
  • References 6
  • Further reading 7
  • External links 8

Early life

Gates was born in Dawson, Minnesota, and raised on a farm. Early in her life, she worked as a sales clerk in a department store, airline stewardess, and secretary for a New York City talent agent, before moving to Hollywood to work for the Hollywood talent agent, Henry Willson, who represented actors Rock Hudson, Tab Hunter and Rory Calhoun.[2]

Marriage to Rock Hudson

Gates met Rock Hudson in October 1954. They started dating some time later and were married in Santa Barbara, California, on November 9, 1955, shortly after he finished filming Giant. Following a brief honeymoon in Jamaica, their marriage began to disintegrate. They separated in 1957, following rumors that Hudson had committed adultery while on location in Italy for the film A Farewell to Arms. The rumors were later confirmed by a close friend of Gates's, who also revealed to her that the individual Hudson had the affair with was a man. The divorce was eventually finalized in 1958.[2]

Later life

Gates later became a successful interior decorator. She died from lung cancer at her home in Marina del Rey, California, aged 80. She was survived by her sister Marvis Ketelsen and brother Russell Gates.[2]

Lesbian allegations

In her autobiography, published in 1987 after Hudson's 1985 death from AIDS, Gates wrote that she was in love with Hudson when they were married, and that she did not know Hudson was gay when they married, and that she was not complicit in his deception.[2] Members of Hudson’s tightknit inner circle contradicted this, stating that Gates was fully aware that Rock had sex with men, and that it neither concerned nor alarmed her because Phyllis herself was lesbian.

Published works

  • Gates, Phyllis (1987) and Sara Davidson, My Husband, Rock Hudson, Doubleday, 232 pages. ISBN 978-0207157844


  1. ^ Rock Hudson at the Internet Movie Database
  2. ^ a b c d

Further reading

  • Hudson, Rock; and Sara Davidson (1986). Rock Hudson: His Story, William Morrow, 311 pages. ISBN 978-0688064723

External links

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